Inspired from here Does the Daylight spell count as "direct sunlight" for the purposes of Sunlight Sensitivity?

I want to cast Major Illusion just outside a window to make an illusion of part of the sun.

You can't create sufficient heat or cold to cause damage, a sound loud enough to deal thunder damage or deafen a creature, or a smell that might sicken a creature (like a troglodyte's stench).

The spell description does not specify it can't be as powerful (so bright that it's blinding, or whatever cause the disadvantage) as the sunlight.

Will a creature with Sunlight Sensitivity get disadvantage when fighting under the illusory sunlight?

Similarly, will a vampire takes damage under this illusory sunlight?

There is a precedence in Tomb of Annihilation, pg. 141, that sunlight cast by illusory magic still affects creatures averse to sunlight:

Illusion magic generates the sunlight [...] This light is treated as real sunlight, and creatures averse to sunlight are affected by it.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ related: Does the Daylight spell hurt Vampires? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 21, 2018 at 19:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'd say this should be subject to a perception check for illusions whether or not the creatures should make their decisions under the expectation they'd be disadvantaged as they would under direct sunlight. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 22, 2018 at 1:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ I can't remember the spell since I don't have my PHB on me but there is at least one spell that says something like "The light generated is sunlight" and where that line is missing - the light is not sunlight. I do however agree with @StuartP.Bentley in that they may be disinclined to move into the light because they don't know it isn't sunlight, but once in they will realise pretty fast. \$\endgroup\$
    – SeriousBri
    Commented Jan 22, 2018 at 12:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ See Sunbeam and Sunburst. They are both light spells that actually produce sunlight rather than just bright light. This should help disabuse people of the notion that Daylight produces sunlight despite only specifying bright light. \$\endgroup\$
    – Nick Brown
    Commented Jan 24, 2018 at 15:40

2 Answers 2



An illusion of the sun created by Major Image would not be enough to impose disadvantage. It is not the brightness of the light that matters, but its source.

Sunlight sensitivity

While in sunlight, the drow has disadvantage on Attack rolls, as well as on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on sight.

Sunlight Hypersensitivity

The vampire takes 20 radiant damage when it starts its turn in sunlight. While in sunlight, it has disadvantage on Attack rolls and Ability Checks.

The sensitivity only comes into play when you are actually in sunlight. An illusion of the sun is not considered sunlight. Sunlight can, by definition, only come from the sun (or from a spell that specifically says it is sunlight).

Jeremy Crawford, lead rules designer, has agreed with this:

Q:Underdark Sunlight sensitivity. Does bright light from torches, light cantrip etc cause the disadvantage or only sunlight?

A: The text of Sunlight Sensitivity specifies that sunlight is the problem for the creature. Bright light in general is fine.

In other words, no matter how bright your illusion is, it is still not sunlight and still will not cause disadvantage.


Sunlight Sensitivity and similar features require light directly from the sun even if another light is equally bright or otherwise highly similar to sunlight.

The general policy for 5e is to use plain English if the rules do not define something clearly.

Sunlight Sensitivity ... disadvantage on attack rolls and on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on sight when you, the target of your attack, or whatever you are trying to perceive is in direct sunlight.

Sunlight is defined as

[...] light from the sun


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